by John C. Miller


Have you often wondered - not understanding - why God allows His people to suffer trials and hardships?
Why does God heal sometimes, but other times He doesn't? How can He allow one of His loved ones to go through painful experiences and heartaches? Psalm 34:19 declares, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all."

Even as there are set afflictions for the wicked, there are also set afflictions for the redeemed. But there is a difference... one is because of judgment, the other because of LOVE.

What is a NORMAL Christian life? The Apostle Paul discovered that for him it included: labors, stripes above measure, prisons, rods, robbers, shipwreck, wilderness, weariness, pain, fasting, cold nakedness, and stones. But who knew more about the depths of compassion than this one who suffered the depths of tribulation? God's working through sufferings melt and break the coldest and hardest hearts. As His people suffer and are crushed and broken, the most precious places of the heart are poured out at His feet in loving surrender. But with every cutting, stripping and molding, His everlasting arms uphold us ... He neither leaves us nor forsakes us. And too, no affliction is forever... only until He is able to accomplish His purposes through the tribulations and trials He has chosen for our maturing. Then... "He delivereth him out of them all."

Have we continued a long time in a particular affliction? Have we learned to bow and surrender to the workings of the eternal Potter's Hand? Do His dealings bring us to a place of surrender to our God of Love who wants to make us as pure gold tried in the furnace of affliction, so that we can be brought into His precious and Holy Presence? OR ... are we rebelling, resisting and becoming bitter and resentful within which keeps us far from a rest in Him and a sweet communion with Him? Jesus Himself learned obedience by the things which He suffered - even unto a total pouring out of His life in LOVE, suffering the death of the CROSS. He loves us so much, that just as He Himself was willing to suffer unto death, so He is willing that we be identified with Him in His sufferings that we might reign with Him. Through cleansings and breakings, He designs to transform us into His very own image.